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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Inside mathematician Cédric Villani’s plan to make France an AI leader |

Celebrated mathematician Cédric Villani has been tasked by the French government to create a national AI strategy, notes Ellen Tannam is a writer covering all manner of business and tech subjects.

Cédric Villani.
Photo: J Barande/Ecole polytechnique/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

AI is a competitive field and various global regions are competing to be at the very edge of innovation in the space. French president Emmanuel Macron is keen for the country and Europe to be leaders in artificial intelligence (AI) and he has appointed mathematician Cédric Villani to lead the charge.

Discussing his role with Bloomberg, Villani explained: “There is a deficit of contact between science and politics. It’s part of my job to reinforce that link. It will be France’s role to lead the rest of Europe.”

An accomplished academic 
Villani has a storied academic career, having taught at institutions such as Georgia Tech, the University of California Berkeley and Princeton University. In 2010, he received the Fields Medal for his work on Landau damping and the Boltzmann equation.

In a 150-page report published in 2018, the mathematician outlined a series of sectors to work on to secure a place for France as an AI leader: healthcare, security, transport and defence...

According to Wired, the French government is implementing about 95pc of his recommendations, but Villani said there is still a lot to do to make the lofty ambitions a reality. He said: “We’re currently very far from these goals. It’s going to take very voluntarist actions.”